I  finally got to see a movie I had read about a while back — Bill Cunningham New York. It is an amazing documentary that follows a still vigorous at 80+ NY Times photographer who has been documenting NYC’s look for decades. Aside from worrying about him biking through crazy city traffic at all hours of night and day without a helmet, I was absolutely fascinated. By the life he leads, his artistic vision, his outlook on life and the path he has steadfastly followed with such dedication. When the filming began he was one of  the last artists living in Carnegie Hall, a resident being eased out of that amazing structure and into a more cookie cutter residence by an oblivious profit driven management.

As an amateur photographer myself I loved watching him prowl the streets constantly searching for unique styles and looks of everyday people on the street, rather than exclusively focus on the high-flying unearthly glamour of models. What he comes up and his interpretation of those images is fascinating.

  (Image from Zeitgeist Films)

Watching him work is a tutorial in opening your eyes to the world around you, truly seeing what is around you rather than going through the paces of your daily activities with blinders on. Mindlessly.

As he also covers social events for the Times, his life filled with top celebrities and designers. Yet he remains humble, low-key in the face of celebrity and clearly shows a preference for those unused to the spotlight.

(Images from Zeitgeist Films)

 

    As I have with so many remarkable artists who have lived during times of great cultural upwelling and foment, I find myself imagining what it would have been like to have been on that journey, that artistic path.  The excitement, the ground-breaking creativity…

Today, technology has opened many doors formerly guarded by diligent gatekeepers. Through podcasts and youtube you can create and exhibit original work and that is awesome. But there is so much out there now, so many people posting so much that the clutter that can be overwhelming. Your work can be caught up in the maelstrom and driven into oblivion. And the shelf life of such work is the blink of an eye. Attention spans are tiny, tiny.

So what do you do? I guess for me the goal is to continue to write, take photographs and let go of any ego-driven hopes for recognition. To keep an open heart, a fresh perspective and to live as fully as I can for as long as I can.

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